School of Earth and Environment

Earth and Environment Blog


Environmental Studies Academy 2015

Environmental Studies Academy 2015

by Cara Healy ES Academy Coordinator

The Environmental Studies Academy was held on Friday 9th January 2015; Teachers and pupils from various schools across Yorkshire attended the ES Academy and were treated to inspiring science sessions and in the School of Earth and Environment (SEE) laboratories where they learned about soils and invertebrates.

Students had the opportunity to learn hands-on in our school laboratories about two areas of environmental science.  The first was about soils and students learned about a wide array of properties that were then used in a mock case of advising an organisation about what farmland to invest in, based on the soil characteristics and the future use.  While the second area focused on invertebrates and understanding the effects of pollution on populations.  Both sessions used real samples collected in the field over the previous months.  Between laboratory sessions, students were treated to an inspiring talk by a world-leading scientist who linked the sessions by talking about climate change and the changes that he had been investigating in the field linking water, soils and organisms.

The day was focused on key areas of the Environmental Studies A2-level curriculum but students came with diverse scientific backgrounds, including geography, biology, etc.

In the morning; students were divided into groups and studied the physical attributes of soils including investigating the colour, pH, texture, moisture and organic matter with Jerry Lee and Kirk Handley in the SEE Level 7 Teaching Labs.

Studying Physical Attributes of Soils

Sampling of invertebrates









In the afternoon; students investigated preserved soil samples and analysed invertebrates with Jane-Marie Stocks the Laboratories Manager and Dr Ross Herbert in the SEE Level 7 Teaching Labs.  (above images taken in both morning and afternoon sessions).

All students and teachers had the opportunity to experience lectures given by environmental scientists in SEE such as Prof Simon Bottrell and Dr Stephen Arnold talking about the interesting science they are exploring and what it is like to be an environmental scientist while highlighting Environmental Science course opportunities within SEE (SEE Level 8 Seminar Rooms).

This was a very inspiring event and pupils and teachers expressed their gratitude at being invited to such an exciting occasion. We received lots of positive feedback from both students and teachers.

The students thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and some students said that they are considering studying with SEE in the future!

Sampling of Invertebrates

Lecture by Prof Simon Bottrell









Thank you to everyone who was involved in running the ES Academy, in particular to student ambassadors Richard Johnston and Jordan Fellows who did an exceptional job at helping out on the day and making the experience enjoyable and comfortable experience for the school students.

This outreach event continues to build relationships with Schools, making the teachers aware of the rich undergraduate programmes we have here, and hopefully interesting the students in our science and to potentially study with us in the future.

As the organiser; I found the day to be really inspirational and I am extremely grateful to be involved in planning and coordinating such an important and exhilarating event.    If you are a student or teacher with pupils interested in attending an upcoming Academy then please contact us.

The ES Academy is coordinated by Dr Steven Dobbie and Mrs Cara Healy; there will be future ES Academy dates – the next ES Academy date will be held in July 2015.




This entry was posted in Events.

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